Monday, February 29, 2016

Reflections from a Global Mentor

“A Brit, a German and a Saudi sit down for dinner…” sounds like the set-up for a bad joke, but for me, it was the beginning of a great friendship. As a global mentor, I am part of the team of people who welcome and support Hofstra’s international students. We help with orientation, bring mentees to school events throughout the semester, organize impromptu study sessions and – of course – meet up with fellow internationals for dinner.
I have learned how to say “Thank you” in Russian, how Bolivians kiss you on both cheeks to say hello and that sometimes the best way to treat homesickness is watching videos of the “Eurovision Song Contest”. I have learned that for Japanese, Root Beer smells like “Icy Hot”, and “Mexican cheese” doesn’t exist in Mexico. But most importantly, I have learned that the foreign isn’t always so unfamiliar after all and that laughter sounds the same in every language. We tell each other stories of how home tastes and feels and smells and looks like (they say Britain smells like rain) and I want to travel the world to see all these places and people again. I want to stand on the busy Beijing streets and hike to the Mayan ruins in Guatemala. But together with the international students,

I also explore what is here. We tan on Coney Island, instead of Costa Rica, and eat Pretzels in a beer garden in Brooklyn, not Bavaria. We ice-skate in Central Park and eat Burgers while walking down Fifth Avenue. And I swear, the only thing better than seeing Times Square is watching somebody else see Times Square for the first time.
Without being a global mentor, I would have never met many of these wonderful people or made any of these memories. So the next time somebody starts with “a Brit, a German and a Saudi want to sit down for dinner…” come along, you might make some great international friends.

Guest blogger: Sarah Gerwens, Global Mentor

If you are interested in learning more about the Global Mentor Program you may do so by visiting the Global Mentor page. Applications for the Fall 2016 semester are currently being accepted. Global Mentor applications are available in International Student Affairs, room 040 Memorial Hall. Applications are due March 18, 2016.


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